Let me start off by saying I have some pretty awesome friends and one of my friends pointed me in the direction of Headspace after I was talking about how my anxiety was getting out of control on Twitter. I'd heard of Headspace when it first launched, but really didn't care about meditation and back then it was bloody expensive. But when she mentioned it to me, I was like you know what it wouldn't do any harm to try it again. I've tried meditation apps and some of them have been great, I've just never been consistent with it.
Take 10 from Headspace is a 10 minute guided meditation challenge that you do consecutively for 10 days. They call meditation the 'gym for the mind' and after my experience, I really do believe them! They encourage you to practice mindfulness through meditation, and they encourage you to start with 10 minutes out of your day. The wonderful things is that the Take 10 challenge is free, so after that you can decide whether or not you want to go ahead and purchase one of their memberships and explore different parts. I've been fortunate enough to have access to paid account to see what else is there and there's a whole range of topics on there such as eating, sleeping, relationships and self esteem. I've decided I will be purchasing a membership package.
Anyway I thought I would share my experience and challenges that I encountered whilst doing the challenge. P.S It took me more than ten days!
Day 1 - Tuesday 15th September - I did this in the evening. I don't have a chair in my room that has a back, so I decided to sit upright in my bed. I followed the meditation and found that it was so simple to follow and that 10 minutes went past so quickly. I didn't find myself wondering when it would be over and it didn't feel weird at all to have 10 minutes with my thoughts just going over me. In fact at some point it felt good to let my mind wonder because I had this designated time for it. I felt SO clam after and really happy with myself that I'd managed to do it. I slept like a frikkin baby that night. I also did yoga before the meditation too.
Day 2 - Wednesday 16th September - This was not a good day in terms of meditation. I was a little high off the success and feeling of my meditation the night before. However, I just found that I was super distracted (which isn't such a bad thing in meditation) but I just couldn't focus. I kept wondering when the 10 minutes would be up and when it was done and didn't feel like anything good had come of it.
Day 3 - Thursday 17th September - I found that this was a good day for me, I also had by therapy session and I had mentioned to my therapist that I was doing it and he thought it was great. I had similar feelings like those that I had on Tuesday, I was able to concentrate a lot better and it felt a good use of those 10 minutes.
Day 4 - Friday 18th September - I was a bit worried this day as to when I'd find the time to do this. My friend was coming round and we would be drinking, so I definitely wasn't going to meditate then nor was I going to sleep at any decent hour anyway. So I decided to do it after I got back from work, I waited about an hour and then started. It was really good, as it was the end of the week my thoughts usually reflect back to things that happen and usually I give myself a hard time about things, but during the meditation I was able to let these thoughts come and go without dwelling on them.
Day 5 - Saturday 19th September - I spent the rest of my weekend at my sisters and with my two nephews who are 3 and 2, safe to say I was incredibly worn out. I still decided to go ahead with the meditation and yup it didn't go so well - I actually felt asleep for like a minute or so! So I packed it in at about eight minutes and just went to bed. Hey, sleep is just as important as meditation :P
Day 6 - Sunday 20th September - This session went okay, I'd had a good weekend and was sufficiently exhausted and was just read to get some chill time away from everything so I really enjoyed my whole 10 minutes.
Day 7 - Monday 21st September - This just went so badly. I had barely had any sleep from the night before so I was just waiting to go to bed and therefore I was incredibly tired whilst doing the meditation. I spent a lot of time fighting the urge to sleep, rather than focusing on what was being said. There's a point in the meditation where you're just counting your breath up to 10 and it's a sure way to put you to sleep! I finished off my 10 minutes but I knew I did not give it my all.
Day 8 - Wednesday 23rd September - So I skipped out Tuesday, I had a horrible day on Tuesday and it was not a job for meditation to solve. Wednesday was also rough but it was not as bad as Tuesday, so thankfully I was able to use healthier tactics to cope with what I was feeling. My practice that say was really good
Day 9 - Thursday 24th September - This started off good but then I realised how tired I was and though "oh boy, here we go again" I actually decided to open my eyes and continue with the rest of the meditation otherwise I would have just been snoozing! It was a good session though.
Day 10 - Saturday 26th September - So on Friday I was lucky enough to win tickets to see Disclosure at Apple Music Festival, which meant I'd be out in the evening and before that, I just didn't have enough time so my practice took place on Saturday. I was a good session but more than anything I was super happy that I'd managed to finish it off! I even went on to listen to some of the intros for eating and commuting, and that's when I decided I needed to purchase myself a membership.
I thought it would be helpful to give an day by day snippet of how I got on to show that nope, it wasn't perfect at all times, but I stuck with it. I'm not sure what it was about this challenge but I really wanted to see the ten days through, I don't stick with a lot of things so I was determined to do this. I absolutely love Andy's voice, it's soothing and calming. I think that's an important thing when it comes to guided meditation - the voice you're listening too, I've been put off many guided meditations simply because of the voice or the tone of voice. So all in all my experience was a good one, I struggled at times but I kept preserving because I was noticing how good I felt when it was done properly.
I loved setting aside 10 minutes of my day, I just kept saying to myself "it's only 10 minutes, you can do this." Also I thought I'm doing this for me, so why on earth shouldn't I persevere? When you buy a membership you have the chance to do a 20 minute or 30 minute guided meditation in the same style, or move on to the different topics using mindfulness. I'm really excited to start this journey, I'm not sure if it's just where I am in my life but I really feel like I connected with this. Hopefully this coupled with my current therapy can put me in a more positive mindset. I'll keep you all updated!
Have you had any experience with meditation? Let me know how you got on AND do check out Headspace.